Cars available in South Africa now are benefiting from changes to the Euro-NCAP crash safety tests although one junior SUV's woeful performance also highlights those that have seemingly been left behind…Euro NCAP has started 2012 with the release of safety results for two new vehicles tested according to the safety agency’s more stringent tests and a number who’ve been submitted to the fresh battery of tests to ensure they retain their five-star ratings. According to the test procedure introduced in 2012, any vehicle awarded five stars should achieve an overall score of at least 80%. It should also score at least 80% in Adult Protection, 75% in Child Protection, 60% in Pedestrian Protection and 60% in Safety Assist, which translates into significantly safer vehicles for modern car buyers, Euro NCAP said. Based on the 2012 criteria, the recently refreshed Jeep Compass achieved only two stars.The compact SUV was tested with an optional side thorax airbag but its test results showed poor protection levels, particularly in the side pole test, Euro NCAP said. The Compass scored a “disappointing” 23% in pedestrian protection. HONDA'S BIG HURRAH Honda, however, had some good news as its Civic hatchback was awarded the maximum five-star rating. The ninth generation of the family hatchback achieved high scores in all areas of assessment and scored well in "safety assist" as it was also fitted with Honda’s optional collision mitigation brake system, a radar-based autonomous emergency braking technology.Honda’s latest-generation Civic sedan was launched in South Africa in January, 2012. The hatchback will follow in May. HIGH FIVEEight cars assessed in 2011 also met the more stringent requirements for five stars in 2012 as Euro NCAP re-issued the top rating for 2012 for BMW's 1 Series and X1, Ford's Focus and Ranger, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Nissan’s Leaf, the Subaru XV and Volvo’s V60.Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary-general, said: ‘The results show clearly that a five-star (rating) these days means a lot more than a five-star (rating) of some years ago. “Cars based on older technology, brushed up and marketed as new, are not providing the same levels as safety as the newest models developed against the new targets."